Last week, Zehut candidate Nadav Halamish publicized a speech of Benny Gantz – former Chief of Staff of the IDF and head of the new Israel Resilience Party – in which he brags that he gave orders to Golani soldiers in Gaza to delay their attack on Hamas’ headquarters during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
This delay cost Shawn Carmeli – a lone soldier from the U.S. – his life. Shawn was one of 12 soldiers killed in Saj’a’iyah during Operation Protective Edge.
In the speech, Gantz brags that despite the fact that shots were being fired relentlessly at Israeli soldiers from the Wafa hospital (which had become Hamas’ headquarters), and despite the fact that the IDF had already spoken with hospital/Hamas HQ administrators to ensure there were no civilians there, he refused to attack before checking with the hospital once again – just in case.
In other words, the IDF High Command gave up the element of surprise, making it possible for the enemy to prepare itself well for the Golani attack. The Chief of Staff also did not take advantage of his immense firepower superiority; instead of turning the hornets’ nest into dust by bombing it from the air, he preferred to send Golani infantrymen into fire.
“Woe to the evil person and woe to his neighbor,” says the Jewish fighting ethic. The Geneva Convention also places responsibility for the death of civilians who are used as human shields upon the shoulders of the side that used them as such.
But Gantz decided to be more Catholic than the pope. Gantz, motivated by different “ethics,” fashionable and expedient, explicitly admitted in his speech that although he had warned the evil terrorists’ neighbor, he constrained his solders and “took the risk on the Golani Brigade.”
For Gantz, a dead IDF soldier is better than a photo of a destroyed hospital. The farcical Chief of Staff said that to the best of his knowledge, no Gazan civilians were hurt. But a Golani soldier was.
Media reports from the battle reveal that enemy command centers and arms stockpiles were in the hospital and that the enemy was shooting automatic and anti-tank weapons at IDF forces “over many long days.” The website of the Golani 13th battalion states:
“The El-Wafa hospital served in effect as Hamas HQ according to intelligence…. Shawn Carmeli, a machine gunner by military training, a lone soldier…realizes that the machine gun ammunition belt on top of his APC was stuck…and it had to be fixed in order to continue to fire at the terrorists across the road from the hospital….
“Shawn…gets out of the APC to fix the stuck ammunition belt…doesn’t succeed…around him shots are being fired from all sides but Carmeli goes out again…. The Unit Commander asks him not to expose his entire body, but Carmeli answers him immediately, ‘I am doing it quickly and will finish.’…
“The Unit Commander goes out to help…. The Unit Commander comes back in but Carmeli doesn’t return with him…it took about a minute to pull him back in…. Carmeli was hit by enemy fire and killed…the first casualty of the Golani Brigade in the operation.”
Shawn Nissim Carmeli was 21 when he fell. David Ben Gurion formulated the ethical bar required of an IDF commander: “It is not enough for the commander to know his work. He must love people, the life of his soldier must be dear to him…. Every Hebrew mother should know that she has deposited the fate of her son in the hands of commanders who are worthy of it.”
Today, Jewish mothers deposit their sons in the hands of generals who prefer enemy lives (and the foreign forums where they can brag about this preference) to the lives of their children. Do they know that?
The values of the distorted “fighting ethics” that the offshoots of the New Israel Fund have embedded by means of commanders like Benny Gantz and his friends in the IDF have already brought about the deaths of hundreds of soldiers, perhaps more.
About half a year ago, my son Avraham, a soldier in one of the infantry brigades, could not remain silent and publicly condemned this phenomenon. He was dismissed from his position. Was Benny Gantz worthy of commanding my son? Your sons? Is a person who preferred the walls of the Waffa hospital/Hamas terror command over the life of Shawn Carmeli, may God avenge his blood, worthy of being an Israeli leader?
One last word: The defense minister during Operation Protective Edge was Bogi Ya’alon. The prime minister was Binyamin Netanyahu. The responsibility they bear for the abandonment of our sons is not less than Gantz’s. It is greater.